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ii i            A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
in which he had put it, as still as though it had died. Its eyes remained quite open and we noticed that, despite the rigidity of the body, the eyeballs moved around from time to time, proving that it was very much awake, even if helpless. To test the matter, one of us approached the rabbit and touched its eye with a finger; immediately the eye closed and reopened, revealing that the animal was fully conscious of what was occurring, although unable to exert its will.
Tahra Bey gave it a gentle rap on the back of its neck and the creature uttered a cry, jumped up, regained its feet, and joyously ran around the table. It was quite unhurt and was none the worse for its distressing experience.
The same experiment was performed upon the hen, which responded as obediently as the other creature. Tahra Bey was able to put it and keep it in any position he desired, and for as long a time as he chose.
The fakir then informed us that his body was no longer insensible to pain, as this insensibility lasted for no longer thin a period of about twenty to twenty-five minutes after his first enhancement. In other words, he had resumed complete normality. "If you were suddenly and unexpectedly to stab me with a knife now, I would undoubtedly cry out with pain," he confessed.
Finally, came the most noteworthy feat of the evening, none other than that of being buried alive. This extraordinary feat was done under test conditions which did not admit of the slightest doubt as to its genuineness.
Tahra Bey said that he would fix, beforehand, the exact hour and minute when he would emerge from the trance into which he would soon throw himself. He requested us, therefore, to keep him buried for no longer than exactly one and a half hours, as he would predetermine his awakening for five minutes after that time.
The coffin was brought into the centre of the scene, the floor of the apartment being first examined. It was kid with tiles and mosaic, as Egyptian floors frequendy are, and it had nothing more than the ceiling of-another room below it, for we happened to be in one of the blocks of modern flats which are springing up all over the European quarter of Cairo. The possibility of secret trapdoors was dismissed very quickly, but, to satisfy our last doubts, an ordinary rug was laid across the floor. The coffin was placed upon this rug.